Politics

Political news from New Hampshire Public Radio, from the State House to the First in the Nation Primary.

(Photo by Brian J Matis via Flickr Creative Commons)

Over the weekend, the Senate overwhelmingly approved extending the payroll tax cut for two months...but before earners could count their thousand-dollar chickens, house speaker Boehner announced the extension would be DOA at the House, sparking a fierce public debate on a week better known for empty halls on Capitol Hill. But with all the kerfluffle over the payroll tax, there are a number of smaller, targeted tax cuts set to expire this year you probably haven't heard about.

(Photo by Joseph A. Ferris via Flickr Creative Commons)

South Korean troops are on high alert today after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong iI. Kim’s chosen successor and third son, Kim Jong Un, now becomes the figurehead of an exalted dynasty that is revered by the citizens, despite a dismal quality of life inside of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea or D.P.N.K.

In the final leg of the campaign in Iowa, the Republican presidential candidates are talking about judges. No one has made them a bigger issue than Newt Gingrich.

Overhauling the judiciary has become one of his key proposals on the stump.

Conservatives have used "activist judges" as a battle cry for many election cycles now. But in Iowa, the issue has special resonance since the judiciary became a potent political issue two years ago.

Born in the spring of 1958, former Sen. Rick Santorum — the son of a psychologist and a nurse — was the second of three children in a Catholic family. The Pennsylvania Republican spent most of his childhood in the Pittsburgh suburbs.

Raj Patel, Sherry Turkle, Bruce Levine, Tyler Cowen and Eliza Griswold...oh, my! We smack a big red bow on our 11 for '11 series of conversations with big thinkers, analyze their predictive powers, and talk about their spheres of influence.  How  

We also look at some folks who, in retrospect, should have made the list, like leading edge tweeter Evan Hill, and music critic and retro-downer Simon Reynolds

Romney Seeks Gingrich's Tea Party Lead In S.C.

Dec 18, 2011

It was warm and beautiful in the seaside resort of Myrtle Beach, S.C., Saturday, where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held his final town hall meeting of the weekend. As he stood surrounded by supporters wearing campaign T-shirts, Romney's mood seemed as sunny as the 65-degree weather outside.

Romney had a lot to be happy about. South Carolina's Tea Party-backed Gov. Nikki Haley had not only endorsed him, she regaled him with glowing tributes at every campaign stop in the multi-city tour.

Lining Up With The Tea Party

The U.S. Senate wrapped up a tumultuous year of divided government with votes that keep the federal government funded through September and extend expiring unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut another two months.

In a rare Saturday year-end session, the Senate's action averted a shutdown but was not the last word on the payroll tax cut extension.

Mitt Romney returned to form in the final Republican presidential debate before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

Romney, who had perhaps his shakiest debate performance in Des Moines over the weekend, appeared to regain his composure in Thursday night's debate in Sioux City, Iowa.

He managed to once again convey the sense that he was the one GOP candidate of the seven remaining who could credibly stand on the same stage with President Obama next fall, the most electable of the candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination.

An Eye on Iowa

Dec 15, 2011

The first-in-the-nation caucus state has been overflowing with Republican Presidential candidates, all hoping to be the number one choice of caucus-goers in early January.  We’ll find out what they’re saying and how they’re playing in the Hawkeye State and how that compares to the campaign this year in New Hampshire. 

Guests 

Dennis Delay / New Hampshire Center For Public Policy Studies

Yesterday, StateImpact liveblogged the Joint Economic Session.  Members of the House and Senate Finance and Ways and Means Committees gathered for hours to hear economists offer projections on where the global, national, and state economies are headed in 2012.

Politicians and journalists always run a risk when they judge a voter strictly on on appearances.

There was a reminder of that Monday when Mitt Romney was forced to defend his opposition to gay marriage during a restaurant encounter with a grizzled Vietnam veteran who happened to be gay.

As it turned out the vet, Bob Garon, also was sitting at a restaurant booth with his husband when the unsuspecting Romney, campaigning at the Manchester restaurant, asked if he could sit down with them.

 

Mitt Romney didn’t mention Newt Gingrich by name during a town hall meeting at a Hudson VFW hall. But he told reporters that he won’t back away from the tough talk of his campaign surrogates, including former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who’s said that Gingrich is unstable.

“I am not going to distance myself in any way because those are their experiences, characterizations they’ve made. But I’d also note, however, that the most harsh criticisms of the speaker have come ... from those who haven’t endorsed me.”

(Photo by David Murray of <a href="http://books.simonandschuster.com/Jack-Kennedy/Chris-Matthews/9781451635089" target="_blank">Clear Eye Photo</a>)

Chris Matthews is best known for his opinionated and combative style on his MSNBC program, "Hardball with Chris Matthews." What's lesser known is that he's a former print journalist, was a long-time aide to Tip O'Neill, and that he grew up in an Irish Catholic family...of Republicans. All this played no small part in sewing the seeds of his admiration for a man he'd later write two books about, John F. Kennedy. 

New Hampshire’s senators split their votes over the president’s nominee to head the nation’s new bureau to protect consumers from financial fraud. 

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray didn’t stand a chance and it’s not because he’s controversial. Republicans just don’t like the consumer bureau the president asked him to head. The new bureau is housed in the Federal Reserve and paid for with its funds. Without the need to ask for money annually Republicans, such as New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, say lawmakers lack essential oversight powers. 

Josh Rogers

Tea Party voters were expected to play a key role in the 2012 republican presidential primary. But with movement hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry low in the polls, and Herman Cain now out of the race, the Tea Party vote remains very much in play.  Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul may stand most to gain. New NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports.

 Attend any NH campaign event with a Tea Party flavor and you will come across more than a few voters like Mark Grenier.

“Mitt Romney? I’d spit on his shoes. The man’s flip-flops, health care, you can’t trust him.”

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is starting to criticize Newt Gingrich -- and turning to former Governor John Sununu to lead the attacks. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports.

Governor Sununu is practiced at delivering political put-downs. His flashed a sharp-tongue at the state house and relished the role of enforcer as President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff. In a Romney campaign call with reporters, Sununu took aim at Newt Gingrich’s comment, since recanted, that Paul Ryan’s budget plan amounted to “right-wing social engineering.”

Donald Trump's planned Republican presidential debate lost a major reason for tuning in: watching Mitt Romney contend with Newt Gingrich, the latest rival to claim frontrunner status.

Romney said Tuesday he planned to skip the debate to be moderated by Trump, the TV reality show star and real-estate developer.

The former Massachusetts governor told Fox News' Neil Cavuto of his decision to decline the invitation to the Trump debate being sponsored by NewsMax and ION TV.

The American Civil Liberties Union has launched a web site it calls Liberty Watch.  The focus is on the presidential candidates. 

Steve Gosset is the manager of media relations  with the ACLU and came to our studios to explain what Liberty Watch does.

 

 

 

 

With the Jan. 3 Iowa Republican caucuses set to kick off the "real" battle for the party's presidential nomination, there's word that:

Photo by Tomasz Krawczak, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

The holiday season, we’re often reminded, is a time for people to come together…except, when it isn’t.   This year’s ‘War on Christmas’ skirmish revolves around the Christmas tree.

So now it's Newt Gingrich.

In what has become the most improbable result of a most improbable campaign season, Gingrich, the former speaker of the House who has been out of public office since 1998, has benefited from a series of well-reviewed debate performances to catapult himself to the top of the GOP presidential pack. Not just the leading "Anybody But Mitt (Romney)" candidate. The leader, period.

It wasn't supposed to end this way for Herman Cain.

His improbable run for the GOP presidential nomination should have served to burnish his CEO credentials, sell his books and enhance the fee the Baptist lay minister charges for motivational speeches and appearances.

This fall, the simplicity of Cain's 9-9-9 tax-reform plan propelled him to the top of a volatile field. Soon other candidates were rushing to introduce their own versions of a flat tax.

Protect NH Families / Flickr / Creative Commons

Yesterday, we linked to a story on TheLobbyNH.com following-up on House Speaker William O’Brien’s latest attempt to overturn the governor’s veto of Right-to-Work legislation.

A number of Republicans joined Democrats in opposition to the override during Wednesday’s vote.

 

Republican Herman Cain says he’s continuing to reevaluate the future of his presidential campaign. NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports Cain says he needs to talk to his wife before deciding if he stays in the race. 

Herman Cain called the allegation he’d been involved in a long-term extramarital affair “trumped up” and said it showed the length his opponents would go to derail his campaign. But Cain also acknowledged the alleged affair, which follows earlier allegations of sexual harassment, is prompting him to rethink his candidacy.

Labor groups and their supporters won a major victory today at the statehouse.

Several dozen Republicans joined House Democrats to sustain Governor Lynch’s veto of the Right-to-Work .

Going into the vote nobody was willing to predict how it would turn out.

It was too close to call.

Supporters of the bill that would ban unions from collecting negotiating fees from non-union employees needed a 2/3rds majority to overturn Lynch’s veto.

So after the 30 seconds lawmakers got to cast their votes, a hush came over the 379 state Representatives.

As expected, the House rejected Governor Lynch’s education funding constitutional amendment.

But about a third of the Republicans actually voted for the plan.

For several weeks, GOP leaders have said the governor’s proposal is all but dead on arrival in the House.

The key problem- most conservatives believe it gives the courts too much say over future education funding formulas.

But long-time lawmaker, Republican Neal Kurk urged colleagues to step back and think carefully.

Right-to-Work advocates and opponents are gearing up for the House to take up the governor’s veto Wednesday.

The debate will be vigorous and very public.

Members of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity have secured permits for most public places in and around the statehouse.

Union workers are expected to show up in healthy numbers, urging lawmakers to block the bill that would ban unions from collecting fees from non-members.

To top it off, GOP presidential contenders John Huntsman and Rick Perry are delivering remarks to the full House.

The House is expected to take up Governor Lynch’s education funding constitutional amendment plan Wednesday.

House leaders say the proposal has almost no chance to pass.

Many rank-and-file House Republicans see Lynch’s amendment as a way to preserve court oversight over future education funding formulas.

That’s a non-starter for most.

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt says the governor needs to understand that dynamic.

 

Stumping in NH today, Rick Perry worked to shore up his credential on immigration. But as NHPR’s Josh Rogers reports the Texas governor’s message was overshadowed by a miscue.

Rick Perry made several stops in the company of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is well-known for arresting illegal immigrants. But during an event at St. Anselm College, where Arpaio was greeted with some booing, Perry seemed unaware that the legal voting age is 18 not 21.

(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5843848811/" target="_blank">Gage Skidmore</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

On Sunday, the Manchester Union Leader endorsed former house speaker Newt Gingrich as Republican candidate for President and enlivened the Sunday talk shows. Salon’s news editor Steve Kornacki  compares the surprise of "newtmentum" to another theatrical scheme…Zero Mostel, playing Max Bialystock to Gene Wilder’s timid Leo Bloom in the 1968 Mel Brooks film, The ProducersKornacki says tha

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